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Ward M.C.,University of Cambridge | Wilson M.D.,University of Cambridge | Barbosa-Morais N.L.,Donnelly Center | Schmidt D.,University of Cambridge | And 14 more authors.
Molecular Cell | Year: 2013

At least half of the human genome is derived from repetitive elements, which are often lineage specific and silenced by a variety of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. Using a transchromosomic mouse strain that transmits an almost complete single copy of human chromosome 21 via the female germline, we show that a heterologous regulatory environment can transcriptionally activate transposon-derived human regulatory regions. In the mouse nucleus, hundreds of locations on human chromosome 21 newly associate with activating histone modifications in both somatic and germline tissues, and influence the gene expression of nearby transcripts. These regions are enriched with primate and human lineage-specific transposable elements, and their activation corresponds to changes in DNA methylation at CpG dinucleotides. This study reveals the latent regulatory potential of the repetitive human genome and illustrates the species specificity of mechanisms that control it. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Marcotte R.,Ontario Cancer Institute | Brown K.R.,Donnelly Center | Suarez F.,Ontario Cancer Institute | Sayad A.,Donnelly Center | And 30 more authors.
Cancer Discovery | Year: 2012

Genomic analyses are yielding a host of new information on the multiple genetic abnormalities associated with specific types of cancer. A comprehensive description of cancer-associated genetic abnormalities can improve our ability to classify tumors into clinically relevant subgroups and, on occasion, identify mutant genes that drive the cancer phenotype ("drivers"). More often, though, the functional significance of cancer-associated mutations is difficult to discern. Genome-wide pooled short hairpin RNA (shRNA) screens enable global identification of the genes essential for cancer cell survival and proliferation, providing a "functional genomic" map of human cancer to complement genomic studies. Using a lentiviral shRNA library targeting ~16,000 genes and a newly developed, dynamic scoring approach, we identified essential gene profiles in 72 breast, pancreatic, and ovarian cancer cell lines. Integrating our results with current and future genomic data should facilitate the systematic identification of drivers, unanticipated synthetic lethal relationships, and functional vulnerabilities of these tumor types. SIGNIFICANCE: This study presents a resource of genome-scale, pooled shRNA screens for 72 breast, pancreatic, and ovarian cancer cell lines that will serve as a functional complement to genomics data, facilitate construction of essential gene profiles, help uncover synthetic lethal relationships, and identify uncharacterized genetic vulnerabilities in these tumor types. © 2012 American Association for Cancer Research.


James L.I.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Barsyte-Lovejoy D.,University of Toronto | Zhong N.,University of Toronto | Krichevsky L.,University of Toronto | And 22 more authors.
Nature Chemical Biology | Year: 2013

We describe the discovery of UNC1215, a potent and selective chemical probe for the methyllysine (Kme) reading function of L3MBTL3, a member of the malignant brain tumor (MBT) family of chromatin-interacting transcriptional repressors. UNC1215 binds L3MBTL3 with a K d of 120 nM, competitively displacing mono-or dimethyllysine-containing peptides, and is greater than 50-fold more potent toward L3MBTL3 than other members of the MBT family while also demonstrating selectivity against more than 200 other reader domains examined. X-ray crystallography identified a unique 2:2 polyvalent mode of interaction between UNC1215 and L3MBTL3. In cells, UNC1215 is nontoxic and directly binds L3MBTL3 via the Kme-binding pocket of the MBT domains. UNC1215 increases the cellular mobility of GFP-L3MBTL3 fusion proteins, and point mutants that disrupt the Kme-binding function of GFP-L3MBTL3 phenocopy the effects of UNC1215 on localization. Finally, UNC1215 was used to reveal a new Kme-dependent interaction of L3MBTL3 with BCLAF1, a protein implicated in DNA damage repair and apoptosis. © 2013 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

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